Under a new pilot scheme known as the Warm Home Prescription, patients are given credit for their energy bills to keep warm.
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Around 10,000 people die each year due to living in a cold home, according to a report from National Energy Action, and treatment for patients living in cold homes costs around £860 million in England.
As a way to help vulnerable people with low incomes and reduce the cost to the NHS, a new pilot has been launched.
Through the Warm Home Prescription, people with cold-sensitive health conditions will get their energy bills paid between November 2022 and March 2023.
Here’s more details.
Warm Home Prescription
Following a successful trial in Gloustershire, where patients were “prescribed” the cost of their energy bills over the colder months, the scheme is now expanding.
While I don’t have a degree in medicine, I hazard a guess that keeping warm reduces the need to go to a hospital or need emergency treatment from being severely cold!
It seems that monitoring this idea has proven successful as they found that people didn’t have to choose between heating and eating, felt warmer, healthier and less stressed, and were less likely to visit their GP.
The average cost of the prescription last year was £647.
Warm home discount 2022: how to get £150 energy credit
The ongoing study wants to look in more detail at whether it’s more cost-effective to pay the heating costs of vulnerable people versus the costs of paying for medical treatment if they fall ill.
They will also use the study to find homes that may be eligible for funding to improve energy efficiency, running costs, and insulation.
Now the pilot is being extended, around 1,000 people in Tees Valley and Aberdeenshire and up to 150 people in Gloucestershire can take advantage of getting their heating on prescription.
You cannot apply to be part of the scheme but are put forward by health and care workers.
You need to have a chronic lung condition, such as COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or bronchiectasis.
To be eligible, you will either need to be under 60 and get free NHS prescriptions or be over 60 and struggle to pay for heating.
The charity Severn Wye will ensure a credit referral is made to eligible people’s energy accounts.